Hall of China - Field Museum

The Hall of China is good for older kids, or those with particular interest in China. Younger kids probably won’t find as much that’s as engaging as in other parts of the museum unless they have a specific interest in China. Even for older kids who aren’t specifically interested in China, it’s probably not worth the additional fee, but if you have a membership or all-inclusive pass, it’s a nice area to explore.

Members will need to specifically ask to see the Hall of China (or another standard exhibit). You’ll be given a ticket you can use to go in to that or any other exhibit (the same ticket will work all day at as many exhibits as you’d like to see—don’t worry about the times on the exhibit, it typically just displays opening times, you can go whenever you’d like).


In a way, the Hall of China is a well-designed but fairly standard historical exhibit, with some very good pieces in addition. The standard historical portion consists of a number of nice artifacts like jars, dresses, weapons, and money. They are displayed nicely, in sections covering different eras and various aspects of Chinese life: politics, religion, commerce, etc. In front of the pieces are touchscreens, allowing you to choose an item and get more information about the context and history of that piece.

The additional pieces are quite good: at the entrance, a topographic map that is highlighted while video screens show scenes from that area of the country, highlighting the size and diversity of the country. A nice animation shows the history of China’s dynasties, moving along a timeline and highlighting different areas of control. The most engaging piece is a video of shadow puppets; on one side you can see the story “Journey to the West” about a Chinese monk who travels to India. Walking around to the back, a matching video screen shows the performers controlling the puppets.

Lastly, is my favorite area of the Hall of China, and the only one you don’t need a ticket to see: the Garden. This beautiful and tranquil garden has several benches to sit and just enjoy the rock sculptures. If you have young kids, there’s a fair amount of open space to let them run around, although the rocks which should not be touched may provide too great a temptation (there are two foot glass walls around them, so younger kids won’t be able to reach in).

The Hall of China ends at an outside wall, you’ll want to return to the main hallway along Stanley Field Hall to see other exhibits. The fastest way to do that is to go to the Hall of Plants, which lets you walk straight through to the main hall.